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How to bear bad news

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Negotiation touches every part of our lives. Relationships in business and in our personal lives are negotiated. And the skills to do it effectively can often mean the difference between getting what you want or losing out. You don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate!

In the first section of the book, How to be a Great Negotiator, written by property economist, investor and developer Neville Berkowitz, the characteristic traits of a great negotiator are explored in short, bite-sized nuggets of advice.

Over the next 132 days, we will bring you the traits needed to succeed at the art of negotiating.

(Courtesy of PersonalEmpowerment.co)

60 Incremental delivery

Another negotiation strategy is the incremental delivery. This is commonly used in a negotiation to lead the other party in a particular direction, to prepare them for bad news, or to set up a positive reaction. By keeping them partly in the dark and doling out incremental bits of information they can digest in stages that you control.

Incremental delivery is commonly used by governments to prepare a population for war, or to prepare them for bad news of one kind or another: e.g. the meltdown of a nuclear reactor or the release of toxins in a chemical spill. It is often used by doctors to prepare a patient, or the family of a patient, for a terminal diagnosis. Instead of receiving the bad news in one sudden, devastating blow, they are given incremental bits of information that allow them to come to terms in stages with the bad news.

But we all use incremental delivery in different ways in our ordinary lives; when we’re trying to get someone to do something he or she may not want to do, or when we’re “beating around the bush,” hinting at something we are reluctant to say directly. Good news rarely requires an incremental delivery; it is generally delivered immediately, as there is little reason to postpone it, and no need to prepare someone for it. If you intend using the incremental method you must ensure that you don’t lose your credibility with it, especially if it’s bad news that you are delivering. Be sensitive to the recipient’s emotional position but ensure that you don’t overprotect them and damage yourself in the process. Once the information is out there the other party will adjust, in time, and move on with their lives. Their lasting memory of you must be someone who was kind to them and trustworthy.


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